Our history and heritage: the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics

2013 is set to be a truly historic year for Cruelty Free International and The Body Shop.  On 11th March 2013, the EU is expected to end the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics.  This ban is the accumulation of over 20 years of campaigning, spearheaded by the BUAV, founder of Cruelty Free International, and The Body Shop, known for its core value of Against Animal Testing. 

In 1973 the BUAV brought the use of animals in cosmetics tests to UK public attention for the first time, encouraging people to shop cruelty-free.  This was followed up by the BUAV’s popular ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ campaign in the 1980s.

In 1990 the BUAV established the European Coalition to End Cosmetics Tests on Animals with a specific call for a ban on the cruel use of animals to test cosmetics in Europe.  This set in motion a high-profile lobbying campaign across Europe, symbolised by the iconic, larger-than-life laboratory rabbit Vanity. 

The Body Shop was the first and most long-standing cosmetics company to take action on this issue, supporting the campaign since 1990.  In 1996 Dame Anita Roddick joined the BUAV and our European partners, MEPs and Chrissie Hynde in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission.  The Body Shop was the first international cosmetics company to gain BUAV certification under the Humane Cosmetics Standard, launched in 1997, and proudly displays the Leaping Bunny logo in their stores worldwide.

However the campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics in the EU suffered a number of setbacks and years of debate between the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers ensued, despite overwhelming support from the public, politicians, and celebrities.

A ban was finally negotiated in the European Union in February 2003 which saw a phased approach agreed.  The first stage was implemented on 11th March 2009, when the 7th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive brought into force two bans, and it became illegal to test cosmetic ingredients on animals anywhere in the EU and to sell or import into the EU any ingredients to be used in cosmetics tested on animals after that date.  However, three types of animal tests were exempt from this until March 2013 in order to allow non-animal alternatives to be validated.

In 2011 it became clear that the European Commission was considering recommending that the final part of the ban be delayed for up to ten years to allow alternatives to be developed.  The BUAV immediately set about making the case for the ban, and the EU is now due to implement the ban in March 2013 as promised.

Although this is a huge achievement, shockingly over 80% of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics.  So in 2012 the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first organisation to campaign for a global ban on animal tests for consumer products.  The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International joined forces again, launching a global pledge in The Body Shop’s stores in 55 countries around the world, the largest and most ambitious campaign of its kind.

In 2012 The Body Shop customers helped Cruelty Free International put the issue of animal testing for cosmetics on the agenda of many Governments for the first time and meetings to achieve change have now been held with Governments across the globe.

The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International remain committed to this issue and continue to call governments across the rest of the world to ban animal testing. The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International are planning further activities later in 2013.  

Key stages in the journey to reach the EU ban

 

1973

The BUAV brings the use of animals in cosmetics tests to public attention for the first time in the UK, encouraging people to shop cruelty-free.

 

1980s

The BUAV launches the popular ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ campaign and The Body Shop produces a leaflet on animal testing and cosmetics.

 

1990

 

The BUAV establishes the European Coalition to End Cosmetics Tests on Animals, setting in motion a high-profile lobbying campaign right across Europe.

 

1991

 

The 6th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive includes legal provisions aimed at ending animal testing for cosmetics products.

 

The BUAV’s iconic, larger than life ‘laboratory rabbit’ Vanity tours countries across Europe to urge MEPs to vote to end animal tests for cosmetics

 

1992

The European Parliament votes to end cosmetics tests on animals throughout the European Community.

 

Anita Roddick delivers sacks of postcards and petitions to Prime Minister John Major urging the UK Government, as President of the European Council of Ministers to vote for a full ban at the EU.

 

On 3rd November, the European Council of Ministers rejects the European Parliament and Commission proposal to effectively ban the marketing of cosmetics products and ingredients tested on animals after 1st January 1998

 

1996

The Body Shop joins forces with the BUAV and its European Partners, and Anita Roddick delivers 4 million petition signatures to the European Commission.

 

1997

The EU postpones, until the year 2000 or beyond, the European ban on the marketing of animal tested cosmetics which is due to come into force on 1 January 1998. It does, however, make a declaration asking for a speedy introduction of a ban on finished product testing in the EU - the so-called '7th amendment.'

 

The BUAV and a coalition of international animal protection organisations launch the Humane Cosmetics Standard, symbolised by the Leaping Bunny logo.  The Body Shop is the first international cosmetics company to gain certification.

 

1998

 

The UK Government bans the use of animals in cosmetics testing of both finished products and ingredients thanks to BUAV lobbying.

 

2003

The 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive is adopted.  It contains provisions for the phased introduction of EU wide testing bans and bans on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals outside the EU.

 

2009

On 11th March the 7th Amendment brings into force two bans, and it becomes illegal to test cosmetic ingredients on animals anywhere in the EU and to sell or import into the EU any ingredients to be used in cosmetics tested on animals after that date.  Three types of animal tests are exempt from this until March 2013 in order to allow non-animal alternatives to be validated.

 

The Body Shop is given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the RSPCA.

 

2012

The BUAV founds Cruelty Free International, the first organisation to campaign for a global ban on animal tests for consumer products.

 

The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International join forces to campaign for a global ban on the use of animals to test cosmetics with a global pledge launched in stores in 65 countries.

 

2013

On 11th March the EU is due to finally end the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics

 

 

 

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